Influence of specific training on spatio-temporal parameters at the onset of goal-directed reaching in infants

Andréa B. Cunha Marjorie Woollacott Eloisa Tudella About the authors

BACKGROUND:

There is evidence that long-term experience can promote functional changes in infants. However, much remains unknown about how a short-term experience affects performance of a task.

OBJECTIVE:

This study aims to investigate the influence of a single training session at the onset of goal-directed reaching on the spatio-temporal parameters of reaching and whether there are differences in the effects of training across different reaching positions.

METHOD:

Thirty-three infants were divided into three groups: 1) a control group; 2) a group that was reach trained in a reclined position; and 3) a group trained in the supine position. The infants were submitted to two assessments (pre- and post-training) in two testing positions (supine and reclined at 45°).

RESULTS:

The short-duration training sessions were effective in promoting shorter reaches in the specific position in which the training was conducted. Training in the reclined position was associated with shorter and faster reaches upon assessment in the reclined position.

CONCLUSIONS:

A few minutes of reach training are effective in facilitating reaching behavior in infants at the onset of reaching. The improvements in reaching were specific to the position in which the infants were trained.

physical therapy; kinematics; posture; training; reaching; infant


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